Utility of electrochemotherapy in melanoma treatment

Current Opinion in Oncology.
Alessandro Testoria, Carlo R. Rossib, and Giulio Tostia

Abstract

Purpose of review
In the present study, the role of electrochemotherapy (ECT) in the advanced melanoma setting, either as
alternative treatment modality to conventional therapies or as palliative care, is reviewed and the
perspective to combine ECT with biological response modifiers and immunotherapeutic compounds is
discussed.

Recent findings
ECT refers to the combination of electroporation and administration of anticancer drugs for local treatment
of solid neoplasms. Electroporation uses short and intense electric pulses to induce a transient
permeabilization of the cell membrane by creation of pores, thus allowing molecules, such as
chemotherapeutic agents, to freely diffuse into the cytosol. ECT has shown to be effective and clinically well
tolerated in the local control of primary and metastatic solid tumors of diverse histotypes in preclinical and
clinical studies, thus, emerging as useful local treatment modality for disseminated superficial melanoma.
So far, only a few data on the role of immunological response in ECT-treated patients have been reported.

Summary
Treatment regimens combining ECT to biological response modifiers (interleukin-2, interferon) and
immunotherapeutic compounds should be further explored in animal and human cancer models;
immunotherapy combined to ECT could broaden the therapeutic indications of ECT, by rendering it
effective also on distant unreachable or untreated lesions.